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Prime Minister's $8 Million Photo Op

Prime Minister's $8 Million Photo Op

Thursday 18 Dec 2003 Deborah Coddington Press Releases -- Economy

Remember the photo of Prime Minister Helen Clark with Tom Cruise on the set of `The Last Samurai'? Hard-working New Zealand taxpayers will be forking out $8 million for that, ACT New Zealand Associate Finance Spokesman Deborah Coddington revealed today.

"Tonight Jim Anderton will take credit for another big budget Hollywood film coming to be made in New Zealand," Miss Coddington said.

"But his hype will be used to try to mask the fact that the Labour Government has promised Hollywood giants Warner Bros $8 million of taxpayers' money for Christmas.

"Labour's already bending the rules of its Large Budget Grants Scheme - which offers incentives for television and film projects filmed in New Zealand. If they spend more than $15 million in New Zealand, they'll be eligible for a 12.5 percent rebate from New Zealand taxpayers.

"It's only meant to apply to films in the early production stages. `The Last Samurai' was finished in April and reaped a cool $US24 million in its first weekend at the box office.

"Finance Minister Dr Michael Cullen fudged his answer to my Parliamentary Question about a grant to Warner Bros, when he said, `The question is taxpayer specific, therefore I cannot answer it'.

"How can anyone claim Warner Bros is a worthy recipient of New Zealand taxpayers' money? Truth is, our Prime Minister just likes being seen with film stars - witness the $4 million of public money spent on the `Lord of the Rings' red carpet treatment, while the New Zealand Film Awards almost didn't happen because of budget constraints.

"The Film Commission was set up to help New Zealand film makers, not to dish out huge grants to Hollywood moguls. This Labour Government takes from the poor and gives to the rich," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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